Benefits for an Adopted Child

As a general rule, if a person is eligible for a Social Security Disability benefit, their “dependent children” are eligible for a check. What does “dependent children” mean? Well, see the other subsections dealing with children to answer all parts of this question except one: when will an adopted child be treated as a child for purposes of getting benefits?

The short answer is “The adopted child will almost always get the same check as a natural child.”

But not always!:

  • As a general rule, the adoption must have taken place before the disabled parent became disabled
  • But an adoption after disability begins can entitle the child to benefits if
    • if the child was “equitably adopted” before the disability. Equitable adoption is a complicated question!
    • If the person doing the adopting is a grandparent on whom the child was in fact dependent for half his support before the grandparent’s disability
    • If the person doing the adopting was a stepparent or natural parent on whom the child was dependent for half his support before the parent’s disability

For those who like legal research, see 42 U.S.C § 402(d)(8) and (9)

And remember that, once you are sure that the adopted child is will be treated as a child, check the other sections to deal with the question of whether a child would get benefits on the parent’s record